To be human is to suffer, or so it seems. Life hurts us, life disappoints us, life takes things away from us. So we grasp and cling onto happiness, but our suffering is a constant looming threat, never far away. We push away what triggers our suffering, and grab onto things that alleviate our suffering, but our desperate striving for peace and fulfilment is futile and never-ending.
Our minds shout violent and hateful stories about how we are unworthy, lacking, not good enough, a failure, unloved. Our emotions boil up inside us with alarming frequency, erupting into fear, anger, jealousy, shame, guilt. It seems that there is no way to escape suffering, so how can we avoid it, prevent it, resolve it, transcend it, end it?
We can only fall into it, and fall through it, and only now, now and now. Always and only now, in this present moment. Because, our suffering is never caused by life — by other people, events, situations, loss, lack. Our suffering is caused by our resistance to life, our resistance to other people’s behavior, to events and situations, to our own unwanted thoughts and emotions.
But life only ever happens in the “now.” Past and future are nothing more than mental concepts — remembered ghosts and imagined predictions. Why do we torture ourselves by reliving past traumas and inventing future disasters? Life only ever happens now, in this present moment.
And we suffer when we go to war with the present moment…by resisting, pushing, clinging, wanting, rejecting, avoiding. But the present moment has already arrived. It is already happening. That “bad” thing that happened in the past — it’s not happening now, so why relive the pain? That “bad” thing that might happen — it hasn’t happened, and might never happen, so why live that imaginary pain? That “bad” thing that is making us suffer right now — it’s already happening. Life has already allowed it to happen — life has already accepted it for existence.
We can’t stop it — just as we can’t rewrite the past or predict the future. So why resist it? Why fight it? And if that “bad” thing is making us suffer, why resist our suffering? Why resist what is already happening, now, in this moment? What if we choose to let go of our resistance and fully accept each and every present moment as it arises? If we fully embrace each arising moment, including our suffering, we accept and surrender to what has already been allowed. And as we surrender, as we give up our war with life, we expand into the wholeness that we are.
We expand into the love and acceptance that we were so desperately seeking. It’s all here, inside us, inside this moment, now. We may even smile, as we realize that all this time, we were seeking wholeness, love and acceptance everywhere else, in everyone else, in everything else — except in the “now.”
But we will only ever find it now. It has always been here, always will be here, with us, inside us, embodying us, now. So let’s take a deep breath and dive into the “now,” because the only way out of suffering is into it — into the beautiful and perfect moment of wholeness that we are.